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PinkMonkey.com Digital Library - A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens


220

CHAPTER II
THE GRINDSTONE


TELLSONíS BANK, established in the Saint Germain Quarter of
Paris, was in a wing of a large house, approached by a courtyard
and shut off from the street by a high wall and a strong gate. The
house belonged to a great nobleman who had lived in it until he
made a flight from the troubles, in his own cookís dress, and got
across the borders. A mere beast of the chase flying from hunters,
he was still in his metempsychosis no other than the same
Monseigneur, the preparation of whose chocolate for whose lips
had once occupied three strong men besides the cook in question.
Monseigneur gone, and the three strong men absolving themselves
from the sin of having drawn his high wages, by being more than
ready and willing to cut his throat on the altar of the dawning
Republic one and indivisible of Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, or
Death, Monseigneurís house had been first sequestrated, and then
confiscated. For, all things moved so fast, and decree followed
decree with that fierce precipitation, that now upon the third night
of the autumn month of September, patriot emissaries of the law
were in possession of Monseigneurís house, and had marked it
with the tricolour, and were drinking brandy in its state
apartments.

A place of business in London like Tellsonís place of business in
Paris, would soon have driven the House out of its mind and into
the Gazette. For, what would staid British responsibility and
respectability have said to orange-trees in boxes in a Bank
courtyard, and even to a Cupid over the counter? Yet such things
were.

Tellsonís had whitewashed the Cupid, but he was still to be seen
on the ceiling, in the coolest linen, aiming (as he very often does) at
money from morning to night.

Bankruptcy must inevitably have come of this young Pagan, in
Lombard-street, London, and also of a curtained alcove in the rear
of the immortal boy, and also of a looking-glass let into the wall,
and also of clerks not at all old, who danced in public on the
slightest provocation. Yet, a French Tellsonís could get on with
these things exceedingly well, and, as long as the times held
together, no man had taken fright at them, and drawn out his
money.

What money would be drawn out of Tellsonís henceforth, and
what would lie there, lost and forgotten; what plate and jewels
would tarnish in Tellsonís hidingplaces, while the depositors
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